Honoring women fighting for their rights — Global issues

It often takes considerable courage to stand up for women’s rights. The UN is committed to the empowerment of women and girls, works tirelessly with activists and organizations around the world to protect women from abuse, supports health and improve life.

Afghan students stand to fulfill their graduation pledge during their degree awarding ceremony at a university in Herat, Afghanistan.

UNAMA/Fraidoon Poya

Women living under Taliban rule in Afghanistan

August marks a year since the Taliban once again took control of Afghanistan, sparking widespread concern about women’s rights there, which had been severely eroded during the regime’s previous rule. this level in the late 1990s.

Twelve months later, UN women announced that the agency is committed to continuing to fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan, the only country in the world that prohibits girls from attending secondary school and is effectively barred from politics.

We marked the anniversary of the Taliban rule by telling the story of some women who decided to stay in the country, even though their lives were turned upside down.

These include Zarina*, formerly one of Afghanistan’s youngest entrepreneurs, who was forced to close his once-prosperous bakery amid increasing restrictions on women-owned businesses; Nasima*, a peace builder and women’s rights activist, who was forced to close most of her projects, but later managed to restart some; and Mahbouba Seraja veteran human rights defender who vowed to stay and testify to what was going on in her country.

Seraj had a sobering message for those who think Afghanistan is an exception: “What is happening to Afghan women can happen anywhere, she said. “Roe v. Wade [the case that led to the national right to abortion in the US, which was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2022] destroyed years of progress, taking away women’s rights to their own bodies. The disenfranchisement of women is happening everywhere and if we are not careful, it will happen to all women in the world.“.

*Name changed to protect identity

Protesters gather in Stockholm, Sweden, following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Iran's ethics police.

Unsplash/Artin Bakhan

Mahsa Amini: inspiration for widespread protests in Iran

In November, the United Nations Office for Human Rights, OHCHR, condemn the Iranian regime’s response to anti-government protesters, following the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman who died in police custody in September, after being detained for wearing a headscarf improperly, according to the so-called police ethics.

Her death led to protests in many Iranian cities, including demonstrations by high school girls. The Iranian government responded by arresting thousands of protesters, including women, children, young people and journalists.

On November 22, OHCHR announced that, in just one week, more than 40 people were killed in the protests, including two teenagers, and two days later, Dong Nhan Quyen Association Create a quest to find out the truth related to the protests.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk told those attending the session who voted in favor of the mission: “It is heartbreaking to see what is happening in this country. “Pictures of murdered children. Of women being beaten in the street. Of those sentenced to death“.

The growing international condemnation of Iran’s crackdown was reflected in the decision of members of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) arrive remove Iran from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on December 14.

CSW, which meets annually in March at United Nations Headquarters in New York, is described as the largest gathering of gender equality advocates in the world.

The United States introduced the resolution, receiving 29 votes in favor and 8 against, with 16 countries abstaining.

Women who are members of an agricultural cooperative for women tend to their crops in Chipata, Zambia.

© UNICEF/Karin Schermbrucker

Women solving the climate crisis

The climate crisis has been shown to disproportionately affect women and girls. In the weeks leading up to International Women’s DayHeld on March 6, we highlight ways women activists improve the local environment and help their communities adapt to an increasingly hostile climate.

They include Mexican violinist Martha Corzo, who has led and inspired a group of some 17,000 local environmental activists dedicated to protecting the beautiful and remote Sierra Gorda; one women’s group in Niger, who have integrated refugees and migrants in an effort to prevent desertification by creating a thriving marketplace; and a mechanical engineer in Kenya who had to fight sexism to develop practical and affordable energy solutions.

In May, efforts by Cameroonian activist Cécile Ndjebet to improve the lives of forest-dependent people were thwarted. recognizedwhen she was awarded the 2022 Wangari Maathai Forest Champion Award chaired by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In Cameroon, about 70% of women live in rural areas and depend at least in part on harvesting wild forest products for their livelihood. However, in some communities, women are not allowed to own forest land, inherit if their husbands die, or even plant trees on degraded land.

“Men often recognize the huge role women play in improving the living standards of families,” she said at the ceremony, “but it is important that they also agree that, for women to continue to play a that role, and even improving that role, they need to have safe access to land and forests.”

women in blue

United Nations policewomen and peacekeepers, continuing to serve with excellence in some of the most dangerous positions in the world, face challenges such as the threat of terrorist attacks Disinformation and disinformation violence and violence are on the rise in the COVID era, amid rising political tensions, and a deteriorating security situation.

above International Day of UN Peacekeepersin May, Major Winnet Zharare of Zimbabwe was awarded the Army Gender Advocate of the Year Award, in recognition of her work with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, where she was a strong advocate. empowering gender equality and women as decision makers and leaders.

“Her diligence and diplomatic skills quickly earned the trust of local military commanders, who sought her advice on women’s rights and protection,” said General. UN Secretary António Guterres said at the ceremony. “Her approach helped MISS strengthen relationships with local communities and carry out their duties.”

In July, at a historic ceremony in South Sudanmembers of the first deployment of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force from Liberia, including several women, were honored with the prestigious United Nations Medal.

Their achievement represents a major shift in the fortunes of Liberia, which endured a devastating civil war in the 1990s and early 2000s, before reaching a cease-fire, under surveillance. of the United Nations Mission in the country, UNMIL, which also supports humanitarian and human rights activities; and support national security reforms, including training the national police and forming a new, restructured army.

Elfreda Dennice Stewart, United Nations Police officer (UNPOL), said: “Our experience of the 14-year civil war and the impact UN peacekeepers have had is real. and tangible to the people we serve on earth. “We have benefited greatly from the peacekeeping force, and it is an honor to serve in this young nation under the iconic blue flag.”

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amplifyHER: honoring outstanding female artists

Finally, we encourage you to subscribe to amplifyHER, a new series from UN Podcasts that celebrates the work and inspiring careers of some of the most exciting female singers around the world.

Many women produce art in the face of and sometimes inspired by the challenges they face in society, whether related to insecurity, human rights, climate change, grievances equality or simply because of their gender.

In amplifyHER, we hear directly from talented female singers about their experience in the music industry, from teen Thai rapper Milli, to EDM powerhouse Faouzia and Emel, voices of the revolution. Tunisian network.

You can find amplifyHERabove Apple Podcasts, Spotify, molded box, sound cloud or wherever you get your podcast.


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